In Bohol, release of terminally-ill political prisoner sought – Bulatlat

June 20, 2024


MANILA – A terminally ill political prisoner is asking a Bohol court for his release under humanitarian grounds as he continues to suffer from advanced-stage liver cancer and several more illnesses such as pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary embolism.

Ernesto Jude Rimando Jr. is a workers’ rights advocate and a long-time researcher for the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo. He went to Metro Manila in 2020 to seek treatment for liver cirrhosis and sepsis. However, he was arrested by state security forces even before he could get the treatment he needed.

“Rimando is praying for a chance to spend his remaining days in a place with sufficient access to the needed care of his medical condition, and if possible, unification with his family,” a portion of his petition before the Bohol Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 read.

In the petition filed before the Bohol court, Rimando asked if he could, alternatively, be put in palliative care at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), where he will be provided with “relief, comfort, support, and address the symptoms of his serious medical condition to improve his quality of life.”

Rimando is being represented by Kristian Lora of the Visayas Community Law Center.

“His medical condition has now progressed to such a stage that his cancer cells spread quickly and that the treatment for his other conditions such as tuberculosis has been stopped as it further damaged his liver,” the petition states, supported by a medical certificate from his doctor.

The World Health Organization has long said that prisons are usually not equipped to provide end-of-life care, as such facility lacks the necessary training and resources, and their environment is not conducive.

Karapatan asserted that the continued incarceration of Rimando would exacerbate his condition, especially without immediate care and health interventions.

“Rimando likewise deserves release for being a victim of false arrest, planted evidence, perjured testimonies, and multiple other human rights violations,” Karapatan said.

Six armed men in plainclothes, who failed to present a valid warrant and refused to identify themselves, arrested him on January 6, 2021, in his apartment in Quezon City. The warrant they presented was for a certain “Allan Morales.”

A 2023 Bulatlat report revealed that Rimando was assaulted by armed men as recounted by his neighbors. He was blindfolded, tortured, and interrogated on the spot, according to human rights group Karapatan.

The Court dismissed the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. However, Rimando is still detained over the murder charges filed against a certain “Allan Morales.”

During his stay in prison, Rimando was repeatedly confined at the PGH not less than five times. (RTS, JJE)

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